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Frank Lampard's Playing Time

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Chelsea have an interesting dilemma in the centre of the pitch. Since Roberto di Matteo took over in March, Frank Lampard has mostly played in a much deeper role than we're used to. For years, he'd been one of the two advanced central midfielders in a 4-3-3, but recently he's been doing a fine job alongside John Obi Mikel in a double pivot and has shown a great aptitude for springing counterattacks from the centre.

Lampard was instrumental in Chelsea's defeat of Barcelona at the Camp Nou, and although he wasn't quite as good in Munich as he was in Spain, he was still good enough to get the job done. So, on paper, it looks like Chelsea are probably fine in the centre of the pitch for next season. Lampard and Mikel aren't the best pairing around, but they've got the job done before and can, presumably, get it done again.

Buuuut there's a bit of a problem. Lampard turns 34 this month, and is at the sort of age where you can't expect him to be playing regularly. Furthermore, he's starting to pick up injury problems. Two seasons ago he ended up missing essentially half the year with a groin problem that kept getting worse, and the fact that he's been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a similar issue is alarming at best.

The idea of relegating Lampard to the sidelines is a little bit silly, of course, but we have to be realistic about how often we'll be able to rely on him next year, especially considering our grueling schedule. Give us your best guess as to how often Lampard will be available in the upcoming season.

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